The Edmonton Oilers received good news on Tuesday, assuming the intention is to deploy forward Josh Archibald in as many playoff games as possible going forward. Archibald recieved a medical exception to join the team on the road and travel, despite being one of the NHL’s few unvaccinated players.
According to head coach Jay Woodcroft, Archibald is an “available player,” and will see his first action of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday versus the Los Angeles Kings. Should he play well, he could jump the line in front of players like Derick Brassard and Devin Shore. Woodcroft said it would be nice to have a player of Archibald’s skill set in the lineup, a tenacious forward whose style is built for playoff hockey.
Woodcroft also talked about shifting back to a 12-6 deployment for Game 2, suggesting he went 11-7 to have a backup plan and an extra defenseman in the event Darnell Nurse wasn’t full healthy. Nurse played well and seemed good to go, thus opening up an opportunity to get another forward in and make the Oilers a bit more difficult to prepare for.
How Long Is Archibald’s Leash?
Some fans will wonder why a player who hasn’t been available for much of the season and hasn’t been a regular is getting the first look, but others argue Archibald offers playoff experience, penalty killing skill and more intangibles that make him useful.
If he’s not productive, his stay in the lineup may not last. Woodcroft said he’s got many options, all of whom deserve a shot. Archibald needs to perform.
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